REVIEW: St. Vincent's 'MASSEDUCTION'

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by Amanda Waters

Preparing for St. Vincent’s fifth LP, MASSEDUCTION, I found myself engulfed in the feeling of meeting up with a best friend who I haven’t seen in years. My mind was littered with questions such as,  “Will we still have anything in common? How much have they changed?” and the fearful, “Will we still like each other after all this time spent apart?” 

My love for Annie Clark has been my longest relationship— a tender and heartfelt 14 year old self fell in love with Clark’s first album discovered via MySpace. I found solace in Marry Me when nothing else seemed to make me go, “Yes, this was made just for me.” Following suit,  Actor, Strange Mercy, and the self titled St. Vincent were also monumental soundtracks to my formative years. My fingers crossed over and over for MASSEDUCTION to make me once again say, “This is the best St. Vincent album.”

The album’s first single, “New York,” was ever-promising and fulfilling for my wishes of tear-jerking heartbreak. Sadness, loss, and peppered-in profanity were rationed in perfect portions of being genuine and nonchalant. The lyrics were an all-familiar melancholy that we can recognize from Clark but the absence of her signature sound of shredding guitar was the first taste of what this new album would unfold.

Upon the releases of “Los Ageless” and “Pills,” I sat in my car and marinated in the new sound. Bumping rhythms and lyrics longing to stick to the walls of my brain were executed in an accessible form— ready for radio. Adjusting my mind from assuming St. Vincent could only deliver us whimsical wind instruments and a wailing guitar, I nodded with acceptance that songs can be despondent while perfumed with pop. 

A graceful transition from catchy bangers unfolded into our well-known friend in “Happy Birthday, Johnny.” First appearing as simply ‘John’ in Marry Me and a reintroduction as ‘Johnny’ in “Prince Johnny,” I am overjoyed to see my old love in a new form. I see flashes of it once more when I make my way to the tracks “Dancing With a Ghost” and “Slow Disco.” The structure mimics “I Put A Pearl In The Ground” and “Landmines” where we experience an instrumental interlude followed by a song that references the previous song title. 

By this point in the album, it is evident that I am being led down to its heart-wrenching core. “Smoking Section” presented itself in the most transparent and naked truth that I have experienced a musician taking me. I am amazed, terrified, and comforted that Clark made the decision to let us in on thoughts we all might have had but have been too afraid to confess. 

With her rise in fame and place in the spotlight, Annie Clark could have taken the route of locking us out on all of the sensitive subjects that were explored in MASSEDUCTION. Keeping true to herself with themes of mental illness, kinks, loss, love, and suicide - we are able to better digest these with a side of upbeat tunes. St. Vincent is just the same, but brand new.


Tracklisting:

  1. Hang On Me
  2. Pills
  3. Masseduction
  4. Sugarboy
  5. Los Ageless
  6. Happy Birthday, Johnny
  7. Savior
  8. New York
  9. Fear The Future
  10. Young Lover
  11. Dancing with a Ghost
  12. Slow Disco
  13. Smoking Section


Buy MASSEDUCTION on Vinyl here, or stream on Spotify today. All tour dates here.

Olivia Grace: An Interview

By Delaney Clifford

Photo By Bianca Garcia

Photo By Bianca Garcia

Olivia Grace is a fresh new musician that’s ready to be heard. Hailing from Maryland but taking current strides in New York City, Grace has set her sights on breaking the mold with her airy, melodic voice playing into your dreams. With her three song EP “Heart Shaped Bruises,” Grace showed us her powerful voice, boasting multiple influences from separate genres and creating a versatile sound that any listener can get behind. With the upcoming release of her new material, I got the opportunity to talk with the young artist to get some insider information on what we could expect from the upcoming release of “Blackbird.” Here’s what she had to say:

Can you tell us some of your musical influences?

Growing up, my dad would play a lot of jazz music. He loved Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole— all the jazz guys.  My mom, however, would play artists like Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney, and Joni Mitchell— so I got the best of both worlds growing up. I listen to a lot of various styles of music, though. I’ve always admired artists like Regina Spektor, Agnes Obel, CocoRosie, etc. My influences are constantly changing. I hear music coming out now that I really connect with and get inspired by.

With your release of Heart Shaped Bruises back in February, you described a story of a lost love of some kind, and the recovery from that hurt. Can you tell us a little about that story?

Well, when I wrote that song there was a lot imagery in my mind. It felt like watching a movie that hasn’t been created yet. The song wasn’t really created from a specific situation I was personally going through. At first, the song was inspired by certain words. I wanted it to be kind of playful, using words and phrases like “bubble gum balls and a chocolate heart” or “curled eyelashes flutter away.” As I writing it, the combination of the chord changes and melody together felt really nostalgic to me— especially when it goes into the chorus. It changes tempo, rhythm, and key. The whole song kind of became about creating this feeling of transporting through time, reflecting on something that once felt magical, whatever that may be for the listener, and reliving that— like having a really great dream that you wake up from. 

With your new single, listeners can prepare for a bit of a darker sound than they’ve grown accustomed to. What prompted that change?

I think the sound started to get really dark once I got into the studio. I originally wrote it on the piano. It already had this underlying chaotic feeling to it, but the production really brought that out. It just felt right. We started playing with beats and harmonies, and it just got darker and darker, but I really liked it.

In your new single, you feature a lot of animal imagery; can you tell us about that choice and how it ties into the message of the song?

I had this line stuck in my head that I wanted to write a song using— “into the jungle, into the wild.” So I already had this jungle imagery in my mind, and when I was writing the song, it got kind of chaotic. When you listen towards the end of the song, it starts speeding up pretty intensely, and I wanted others to feel that same level of chaos I felt when I was writing it. The song can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. For me, the blackbird is a symbol of a guardian and someone you wouldn’t expect to be there for you even though they end up being the one to come through. The lines “snakes at your feet wrapped in a pile, pulling you in won’t you stay for a while, until the blackbird flies the mile…” symbolizes the people who aren’t good for you. They aren’t trustworthy— they’re snakes, and sometimes you might not see that right away. They’re this representation of deceit. The jungle and animal imagery just felt like a good way to get this message across, even though it wasn’t originally the inspiration for how the song came about being created.

Can you tell us about what’s next for you with this new release?

I have some things in the works, but nothing I can confirm just yet. I’m very excited, though! Listeners can hear “Blackbird” out everywhere September 30th.

You can check out Oliva Grace here:

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Another Eternity: A Night With Purity Ring at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, WI

Photo by Tyler Dennen

Photo by Tyler Dennen

By Madalyn Dellenbach

I remember back to my high school days when I first discovered who Purity Ring was. They first caught my attention in 2012 when they had released their track Ungirthed. To say I was completely captivated would be an understatement. From the atmospheric melodies, to their raw, poetic lyrics - they have this way of resonating with you long after listening, giving you this feeling that their music was unlike anything you had ever heard in your entire life. I immediately found myself listening to them in my car every morning on my way to school, and even on those late night drives to nowhere in particular just to clear my head. Before I knew it, they became a very important element in my life, becoming not just my favorite artists - but my rock and my safe haven.

After many hours spent in my room watching live performances and interviews, I found myself dreaming of the day I would be able to make one of their tour dates in Milwaukee. Finally, in 2016, I saw they announced their Another Eternity Tour with the other supporting artist Lydia Ainsworth. I had to go. Despite not having much money in my bank account, I knew that whatever Purity Ring had in store for me was priceless. My partner and I both bought tickets the night they announced the tour and anticipated the day of June 1st show at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee.

June 1st. At last - I woke up completely energized and full of anticipation. I had been waiting for this moment for five years; I was finally going to experience Purity Ring’s live performance in person. Before hitting the stage, the first thing that caught my eye upon walking into the theater was their gorgeous stage set up. Lights were strung vertically in rows that went all the way up to the ceiling and dropped down to the floor, illuminating the entire stage. In the center was the setup for Corin - a full set of interactive light cocoons so that when he tapped on them, they lit up different colors and cued whatever sounds he wanted them to make during their set. The amount of effort they put into their stage production was beyond admirable and completely amplifies those same feelings you get when hearing their music.

When the time came for them to come on, the stage filled with smoke - the sound of people cheering and lights flickering made it feel like the room was shaking as they opened up with my favorite track off of their new album, Heartsigh. I instantly felt goosebumps take over my entire body, I threw my arms up in the air, and closed my eyes. Looking back at it now, I cannot believe how beautiful and memorable that moment was and I’m positive I was tearing up the entire set. Megan’s vocals were absolutely beautiful as she sang the entire time without a backtrack, and Corin completely killed it during the entire performance, playing those gorgeous light cocoons and dancing the entire time.

Seeing Purity Ring for the first time is something I will never forget. All of my friends surrounding me, seeing them smile, and sharing those occasional glances during songs that spoke holy shit I am so happy right now complimented the endless amounts of dancing we all did made it a completely euphoric night for everyone in the room. I left feeling so at ease, like I completed one of my biggest life missions. I will definitely be seeing them again, and if you haven’t seen or listened to them, check out a tour date near you.

No Faking, No Shaving

By Delaney Clifford

The latest and greatest track from the status quo-challenging duo Holychild is a true kick to the teeth. The two have collaborated with singer Kate Nash to bring us “Rotten Teeth,” a dance-anthem that goes far deeper than the heart-pounding beats and groove that lie on the surface. Coming to us with a video full of sexually charged imagery and feminist-allied lyrics, this is certainly deeper than other songs that we’d find in the “Related Artists” column. Self-described as “Brat Pop” by the duo’s Liz Nistico, the video for “Rotten Teeth” speaks entirely for itself. Featuring powerful lyrics such as “I can never be the girl I wanna be – No, I’ll never be free,” along with the imagery of cheap, disposable razor-blades, gender-bending costuming, and cotton-candy pubic hair, this video and song are a thrust back against social constructs, conformity, and the oppression of anybody who identifies outside of the norms.

Holychild is tired of explaining their art, so they’ve given us “Rotten Teeth” and left it up to us to decide. The lyrics and message are draped in electronic haze and a groove that gets to everyone, something done very much on purpose. This song comes with an air of cynicism, as if the duo just wanted to see how far they could take the joke. Even still, this song falls relatively in line with the creative drive featured in the other music that we’ve heard from this group. It still excites us; Nistico still captivates us with her voice, Diller’s instruments continue to beat and shock through the song, but “Rotten Teeth” seems to show the side of this duo that’s sick of the hype. Sick of the oversaturation of absurdist art and ridiculous gimmicks, this video and song-style are a satire to the way some artists garner attention in the current industry. However, no matter how far the satire reaches, the lyrical content remains, which is resounding. For all of the vitriol directed at the music industry, it doesn’t begin to match the frustration and fury hurled towards the oppressive constraints of being a female. This is where Nistico comes in, pushing back against all of what she and millions of other women are fed up with and saying “no more.”

With this song, Holychild has declared war on restriction and falsity. These musicians want people to exist the way that pleases them, not the way that pleases the people. Whether it’s making music for radio play or shaving your armpits, this is one group that’s sick of it. So if you’re into a band that’s defying convention, and having a hell of a time doing it, Holychild is the band for you. Happy listening.

 

LITTLE GREEN CARS: A Performance About Honesty and Vulnerability at Chicago's Metro

All images by Annie Zidek

All images by Annie Zidek

by Nohemi Rosales

The last time I saw Little Green Cars perform at Lincoln Hall in 2013, I was blown away. 

Though the audience back then was small, with less than half of the main floor filled up, they left a lasting impression on their Chicago audience. 

Three years and a new album (Ephemera) later, they returned to Chicago for their May 5th performance at Metro. This time the turnout increased significantly, filling up not just the main stage, but the balcony and both VIP sections - proving a true come-up for the band. 

If you don’t yet know who the Little Green Cars are, do not fret. I am here to tell you.

To put it simply, a harmonizing quintet of 20/21-year olds from Ireland who are honest, emotional, and a little awkward, but equally inspiring and breathtaking.

What makes them truly admirable, is that all members (Faye O'Rourke, Stevie Appleby, Adam O’Reagan and Donagh O’Leary) have been friends since secondary school and have been playing music together for just that long. 

Not all bands have come together under the unity of friendship – but for Little Green Cars, this unity is something obviously evident in their performances. From the setup of their stage, with four microphones lined up evenly apart from each other, to the way they take a step up at the exact same time when harmonizing, one can’t help but to see them as one magical, beautiful entity.

Standing under a shower of green lights and smoke, they began the show with “The Party” from Ephemera, their newest album (released in January of this year). It was a brilliant first song choice, as the lyrics were telling and set the mood for what the rest of the show would be like:

“Now it’s over. And they’re leaving. Did I try too hard to tell them how I feel? Did it sound like a joke? So I’m going to wreck your party. Because I’ll make you cry the tears that I can’t. I don’t wanna wreck your party.”

Little Green Cars’ music is known for being sad, intimate, and personal - though their upbeat melodies contrast these darker kind of lyrics. And what better way to be honest with your fans about your feels than to start a show with the song you wrote about it? 

But of course, they didn’t wreck the party, they light a match and had the audience captivated and singing along. Right before their 7th song,“John Wayne” from their first album Absolute Zero, Stevie Appleby stopped to tell the importance of the song - how a fan went up to him after one of their shows and told him how John Wayne had influenced him after a friend committed suicide. Appleby ended his short speech by saying,

 “I say this because I feel that when I’m up here, I have to say something worth saying. So I want to say that this song should inspire you to be honest about how you feel. To tell the people you love that you love them.” 

Something that really struck me while watching the show progress was the way that they performed - how they closed their eyes and relaxed while performing - truly focusing on the meaning behind the lyrics beyond their stage presence.

This is especially true for Faye, one of the two lead singers, whose killer vocals were like a cool wave of comfort the entire night. While singing “Ok Ok Ok” (which she wrote in High School) from Ephemera, the room grew incredibly quiet. Everyone had their eyes on Faye and became still; her voice transcending the audience to the pain and beauty in the lyrics: “But if you touch me and I scream, just remember what I mean. I'm alright.” Not only were her vocals outstanding, but so was her humble presence on stage - the way she clenched her hands, blew kisses, and bowed to the audience to say thank you. She definitely goes on my list of badass women.

As the audience looked up on stage starry-eyed and clinging to the last few seconds of “The Consequences of Not Sleeping” (what everyone thought would be their last song) Little Green Cars stopped and took to the floor. They climbed over equipment, the front barricade, and over people’s heads until they made it to the center of the floor, where they were engulfed by the audience that looked on in anticipation of what would occur. 

A warm yellow light that resembled a sunset flooded the hall as they played the last song “The Factory” from their newest album and the last words they sang,“I’m alive again,” echoed long after Little Green Cars returned back to the stage, bid their farewells, and left.

Stevie Appleby, lead singer aside Faye, who I got the chance to speak with after the show, told me about their ending. “You really have to have a lot of trust and be open to being vulnerable in situations like that. Our audience could have definitely shredded us to pieces if they wanted to, but it was a really intimate space for us to be singing in, surrounded by everyone.”

Stevie discussed the importance of honesty and vulnerability in their music, saying, ”I wish I had known how to be vulnerable when I was younger. And I know that now, so that’s what inspires me to make music - to be the person I needed when I was younger, maybe to somebody else. Because being vulnerable is the strongest thing you can do.”

For someone who believes in the power of vulnerability, I left the show humbled and touched. I haven’t been able to stop listening to the raw, but necessary reminders that manifest themselves in Little Green Cars’ music.

If you ever need to let your wounds bleed, to be honest about your pain, and to give into the beauty of feeling, you need this humble bunch of artists in your life.

For more info on Little Green Cars:
http://littlegreencars.com

Moving The Grey Mountain

By Delaney Clifford 

 

Skylar Grey has released her new single to a resounding acclaim, but only wants more. Her single, “Moving Mountains” was released at the beginning of April in addition to a masterfully created video for the song being released last week. The five-time Grammy-nominated artist produced the song with Mike Elizondo and Mark Batson, creating a sound that perfectly fits the subtlety and underlying motivations of Grey, who is finally putting her unrelenting ambition aside to make room for some personal happiness in her life.

Her recent video was shot and directed by Peter Handler in the rural snowy mountains of Park City, Utah— a perfect location to make a comment on appreciating the moment and letting everything else slip to the side to exist in the present. This seems to be exactly what Grey needed in her life, as she said, “Most of my life I’ve let ambition get in the way of happiness— too focused on the future to enjoy the moment. Now living in Utah, I’ve realized the importance of taking the time to sit back and appreciate a mountain view.  It's amazing how just being present has the power to elevate your mood.”

Grey seems to know better than most what that mountain view can do for someone, and Handler’s artistic video production has conveyed that feeling to viewers in volumes. Featuring the gorgeous views of the Utah mountains as well as the heartwarming scenery of a log-cabin fireplace, those who watch this video will feel right at home in that cabin, perhaps even more so on the icy slopes as the sun peaks over the mountain ridge. All of this natural beauty captured by Handler pales in comparison to the beauty of Grey’s voice. Almost haunting, her voice glides right over the near Mumford and Sons guitar sound that she brings to the table. This combination creates a sound that you’ll want to listen to over and over again.

This song is almost a complete backflip compared to her previous song, “Cannonball,” a soulful pop anthem that seemed to base Grey on the large-scale music scene. “Moving Mountains” is exactly that; Grey has decided to move a mountain in her life, whether that be the shift in genre or maybe a shift in her life overall. One thing is certain, Grey won’t be going anywhere but up anytime soon. Keep your ear to the ground for her new record, a follow up to her debut record in 2013, and expect some serious earth-moving material.

You can catch Skylar Grey on tour with Atlas Genius, presented by Journeys at the following dates and locations:

04/23 Charlotte, NC         Visulite Theatre

04/25 Tulsa, OK               The Vanguard

04/26 Dallas, TX              Granada Theater

04/27 Houston, TX           House of Blues

04/29 Phoenix, AZ           Crescent Ballroom

04/30 Los Angeles, CA    El Rey Theatre

 

You can follow Skylar Grey at the following media outlets:

Website

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

 

 

Metamorphosis: Unraveling the layers of Aurora Aksnes

By Delaney Clifford 

If you’ve been searching for an artist that I can only refer to as the “perfect medium,” then you’ve come to the right place. Aurora is that artist, revealed most prominently on her new album, All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend which was released in March of 2016. This debut record had set Aurora out in front of the herd as someone who won’t be ignored. Her style can’t be pinned down, the very same way that her eccentric look refuses to conform to any set of parameters.

On a first listen through her record, listeners might hear a familiar sound a feel the vibe that they’ve experienced while listening to other records… maybe for the first song, anyway. The deeper you get into this record, the deeper you fall into Aurora’s process. Almost as a shield, Aurora uses electronic beats and harmonies to bolster her painful lyrical content. This is an example of an artist that has made her emotion relatable, worth far more than a song to dance to in some club. One of the most interesting features about this record is the way that it changes, the way it morphs as you listen. Almost like getting to know a person, you see the surface first, the beats, the grooves, the melodies and harmonies, but the more you get into it, the more you get to know the person behind all of that, that’s when you feel for them; that’s when you know them.

This example comes in the form of Aurora’s song, “The Eyes of a Child,” a beautiful piano ballad showcasing the best of what Aurora has to offer her audience. Painful content shrouded in an angelic voice that you can get lost in over and over again. For me, this was the real focal point of the record, what everything was building up to. From that song, the rest of the record takes on a different form, a new shape. The beginning of the record seemed to be what Aurora was “willing” to show to her mass audience, and the latter half was a much deeper side of the artist, presenting a different side to both her and her music.

When I first looked at the album cover for this record, the image was all too clear to me. Featuring Aurora wrapped up in cloth with wings emerging from her back, she is going through a change. She began in one style, but she refuses to be pinned down. Her style is fluid, a dynamic flow that will have you listening to every song. There is no filler on this record. Aurora has created a record featuring a metamorphosis, a physical change that we can listen to occurring throughout the record. To me, that’s one of the most amazing things that a piece of music can offer. This album is like a sprint. You start off running headfirst into the night, not knowing exactly where you’re going to end up, but bursting forth anyway. Then before you know it, you’re coming to a halt, somewhere entirely different, and you just have to look around and feel it. So enjoy dancing your ass off, and enjoy feeling yourself, because that’s what Aurora brings to the table. Happy listening.

 

You can follow Aurora here:

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In-depth Exclusive with Canadian Rapper SonReal

By Joe Longo

SonReal should not standout. He fits every description of successful rappers before him. With a harsh, fast-paced style and hipster appearance, he could be mistaken for an Eminem or Macklemore knockoff. Moreover, as a native of Vancouver, SonReal's recent breakthrough could easily boil down to Canada's rise as a rap powerhouse. Yet, SonReal avoids these simple generalities. Rather, he stands as a clear outlier to the often over-hyped, stale rap game.

Born Aaron Hoffman, SonReal not only acknowledges his easily generic appearance, but flips-it on its head. Through innovative music videos and a consistent social media presence, he successfully highlights his raw talent and undeniable hard work to transcend past initial impressions. SonReal had little clout getting into the game. But while this star has—finally— —hungry even to prove himself.

Read on as Hooligan Magazine interviews the earnest rapper reflecting on his success, his mother’s influence, and the ever-growing importance of Snapchat.

 

You have two Juno award nominations and embarked on several nationwide tours in both Canada and the US within the past few years. But, you still haven’t released a full-length debut album. Could you comment on your uncommon route to success?

My success story is one of persistence. Because of me not really getting same [exposure] as a lot of people because my music is kind of different, we’ve got to kind of do everything by ourselves. I really owe a lot my success and everything we’ve achieved off of exactly that. My first bit of real success came out in 2013 when I did a video called “Everywhere We Go.” [Since then], I’ve been blessed to work with talented enough people that we can take this to the next level. It’s been a journey.

 

Do you think that taking a different route has made you a better artist?

100 perecent. Taking the same route as other artists, you end-up getting pigeonholed with them. You end up fighting for the same spot. With me I don’t occupy anybody else’s space, so they don’t see with what I’m doing and what my team is doing.

 

Your new single SOHO was released last month and has a slightly new sound from some of your previous work. Is this any insight on what’s going to be on your new album?

It’s not on my new album, SOHO. It’s more of a [single] we just wanted to put out. For me and my crew, we just love bumping that song. It’s just one of our joints in the van or something. We just put on SOHO and turn it up. There’s certain songs we did for the album that didn’t quite make [it] that were some of my favorite bumping songs. Just always wanting to bump. We decided to put it out there in the inter-waves and [we] may have some visuals coming forward too.

 

Do you think there is a benefit to releasing music just online and not part of your album?

Music is music. SOHO at the shows— people know the words to the song; people want to hear it. It’s not on an album. But, we live in a time now where you can just hop on to Soundcloud or Spotify, become a fan of a song, put in it to your playlist and listen to it everyday.

 

Could you comment on how the album is progressing? What can we expect to see?

The first single of the album comes out [in April]; It’s called “Can I Get a Witness.” I think it’s just a good introductory to what the album is going to be like. Everything is way bigger. Everything is more well thought-out. I’m working with some of the best producers on this album. I’m working with RedOne— working with Rush and RedONe. Those two guys have done a lot of work on it. Rocky— Rocky produced Kendrick Lamar’s “i.” He’s one of Kendrick's in-house guys. Just so many great producers that have expanded my mind. I'll be able to achieve what I’m calling my best work to date.

 

You stay very active on social media to connect with your fans. Why do you find this important?

It’s just really good to do; my fans love it. I literally spend an hour or two hours a day if I can. I like spending an hour or two hours a day replying to my fans on Snapchat, replying to my fans on Twitter, and facebook. Because, I was a fan. I remember Method Man taking a photo with me. It’s a lot to the fans. I’m Method Man or whenever I was a fan of to them. It’s nothing for me to do it. A lot of artists they get cocky too quick. So, I try to take the time to comment back to my fans while I can.

 

You’re specifically popular on Snapchat. Why is the app so beneficial for you?

I just started doing it, and I guess I’m good at it. Snapchat is one of the only places for me on social media where I can completely do the dumbest shit I can think of. But, my fans love it. They don’t want me to do that on Instagram or Facebook— somewhere where it lives forever. But Snapchat is so disposable.. my fans love me for it, and it’s my fastest growing social media. So, watch out DJ Khaled; I’m coming for ya.

 

Your music videos standout for being highly conceived and in-depth. Why is that important to produce creative videos?

Because we live in a time that anybody with can go buy an single-lens reflex camera for $1,000 and shoot a video that’s going to look nice and clean. There’s so many videos and so many people doing stuff that we don’t necessarily try to do stuff different. [But], by default I like doing different stuff. I like doing stuff that excites me. Seeing so many things— I’ve done so many things that we always try to get to the next level and be something that we appreciate [as] a fan of art.

I always wanted to do a western music video. I thought it was dope for a rap video to be a Western. I came up with the idea on a plane with my manager. We started talking about it and wanted a bar fight at the end.

 

The video for you song “Woah Nilly” was recently released and again there are comedic elements to the video. Do you intentionally incorporate comedy into your music?    

I like adding comedy to the videos, but not as much to the actual music. Some of the quirky lines and whatever. I’ve never want to become a parody rapper. Never want you to listen to my album and be like, “Oh my god, this guy is so funny. It’s such a joke.” My music is actually really serious. But, I just like juxtaposing that with the contrast of doing something that's a little bit funner and something that’s gonna affect people in that way.

 

Your mom makes an appearance in the video. How was working with her?

My mom kicks ass. She comes to the music video shoots and actually nails her role. I’m gonna get her in more music videos. I’m gonna give her a big role in one of my next music videos. She makes any character she gets.

 

Did she encourage your artistic pursuits growing up?

My parents divorced when I was 15. I lived with my mom, and she was always really supportive. She was raising a mad teenager. When my parents divorced, I was mad. I was straight up mad. I didn’t know why; I just knew I was mad and need an outlet. So, I was making a lot of mad raps and mad ass things. She always supported me. I would come home wearing a 4XL [shirt], size 40 jeans and a big ass Raiders hat. She is supportive of me. If she can love her confused son like that, she earns the respect to be in any music video I drop.

 

You recently did an interview with TorontoRappers.com where you complied a list of your favorite underated artists. Do you consider yourself underrated?

Of course. I consider myself underrated for sure. But I also am firm believer everybody deserves to fail. My time is this year. It wasn’t supposed to be last year, because I wasn’t ready. Now, I’m ready. Everybody has different cards. People have been telling me for a long time--people told me in 2015, “Why haven’t you blown up yet? You should be bigger than everybody.” But, I guess not. If I wanted to do that, I would do that.  I’m proud to say when it does happen for me, it’s gonna be the right time.

 

How would you characterize the difference between the Toronto and Vancouver rap scenes?

Vancouver is really laid back. They’re really great, just don’t have fully the infrastructure Toronto does. But, Toronto had everything really fast. Vancouver has got a lot to offer though--a lot of insane music. A lot of artists I think are gonna be really big. We just somebody to break down the door, and that’s what we’re trying to do.

 

You can follow SonReal here: 

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Twitter

Instagram 

 

Feeling Bloo

By Delaney Clifford

           Has the world ever deserved the perfect combination of Sam Smith, James Blake, and Ellie Goulding more than now? Well the time is nigh for the newly acclaimed artist Kacy Hill, who continues to drop jaws as she continues her powerful march onto Spotify playlists and tour after tour. With her release of “Bloo” in 2015, Hill didn’t gain much recognition right off the bat. In fact, most of her notoriety came from a controversial American Apparel advertisement, but what else is new for that brand, really. Apparently, being involved in that kind of controversy, being a backup dancer for the Yeezy tour, and making music that’s seriously ahead of the curve is a perfect storm to get Kanye West, Yeezus himself, to notice you and pick you up as his protégé. But enough about the background, we need to talk about this woman’s music. So, what’s so special about a woman with a pretty voice hopping on a track with a soft electric beat? There are plenty of other artists doing that, right? Wrong. Plenty of female artists are making music today (which is great!), but most of what I’ve been hearing isn’t breaking the mold. Everyone is following the work of the female greats: Beyoncé, Rihanna, etc., and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s just not… this.


           I really can’t convey Hill’s work through words, so please do yourself a favor and go listen through her debut EP “Bloo” and feel that rush for yourself. But to give you an idea, just imagine the silky smooth style of Sam Smith combined with the ingenuity and creativity of James Blake, and the delicate, yet powerful voice of Ellie Goulding. Not to be redundant, but that’s exactly what you’re getting out of the three original songs that make up “Bloo,” and I don’t think I’ve ever fallen harder, faster for three songs in my entire life. Featuring the ever-eclectic mix of piano and electronic beat as well as a quick jolt of jazz infused piano, Hill creates a sound that clashes against itself, throwing clever lyricism in with soul-soothing vocals, forcing the listener to actually listen. At a first listen, Hill’s music may just want to make you jump on top of the nearest table and dance your ass off, and it’ll definitely make you want to do that with every listen after, but once you start really hearing the pain in her voice, the raw feeling behind her words and her music, listeners develop a connection with her, not just her music. Isn’t that the real point, anyway? Creating connections is what I take away most from music, and if an artist can make me feel for him/her, then I feel their music as well. Anyway, after that little emotional nirvana, Hill takes you right back into that big, comfy, cushy chair that you just keep sinking into the more you listen. This EP has it all; groove, punch, and shine, and it’s just waiting for you to pick it up.

           For all that can be said for Kacy Hill, she is still relatively unrecognized on a grand scale, a true crime and shame when such talent exists just beneath the surface of the Top 40. She’s doing something innovative and original within her targeted genre and audience, and I believe we’ll be hearing a lot more from her sooner than later. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for Miss Hill.

You can check out Kacy Hill on tour with Jack Garratt here.

You can also follow Kacy Hill on the following media outlets:

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